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Iranian FM meets President Mubarak in Cairo

Tehran, Nov 20, IRNA-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Saturday where the two discussed common grounds for cooperation on regional and international issues.

Mottaki and Mubarak met on the sidelines of a three-day meeting in Cairo to promote national reconciliation in Iraq, a statement released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

"Developments in Iraq, the Syria-Lebanon crisis, the Palestinian problems and Iran's nuclear dossier were among the topics discussed at the meeting alongside aspects of the joint bilateral cooperation," it said.

Mottaki delivered President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's message for Mubarak, the statement said, without touching on its contents.

The minister also appreciated Egypt's support for Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology as he outlined the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy policies, it added.

Mubarak described the existing climate governing relations between Tehran and Cairo as "appropriate" and "positive" and stressed the need for strengthening cooperation between the two countries, according to the statement.

The Egyptian president further underlined the need for increasing the two countries' cooperation on regional and international issues, it said.

Iran and Egypt have not had diplomatic relations since 1980s but the two Muslim countries do have diplomatic contacts.

The two countries took a series of fence-mending measures early last year, fuelling speculation that they would imminently resume ties.

But the momentum was slackened after the then Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Maher was cited as saying that an imminent normalization of ties was a thing 'in the future'.

Iranian officials have said that 'relations between Iran and Egypt are in the restoration phase and need time'.

Tehran invited President Hosni Mubarak to an economic summit in Tehran in February 2004, but the Egyptian leader sent Maher to represent Cairo at the venue.

The visit was seen to set the tone for the two countries on how to proceed with the 'reconstruction' of their diplomatic ties, which have been almost non-existent due to the Camp David peace treaty with Israel.

The two countries moved in January last year towards rapprochement after Maher renounced the accord as a thing of history.

The gesture was immediately reciprocated by Iran, which agreed to rename Khaled Islambouli street, called after the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

Tehran and Cairo first broke the ice in June 2000 after former President Mohammad Khatami spoke on phone with Mubarak in the first such conversation by the presidents of the two countries.

Khatami and Mubarak met in Geneva in December 2003, on the sidelines of a UN technology summit.

The Islamic Republic severed ties with Egypt after Sadat signed the Camp David peace accord with Israel and provided sanctuary to the defunct Shah.

Speaking to IRNA in Cairo in January last year, Maher said that the Camp David accord 'does not exist anymore and is merely a thing of the past'.

"There have been many changes and I believe that this case between Iran and Egypt has already been closed... What matters now is the interest of Iran and Egypt to work with each other," he said.

At the request of the Foreign Ministry, Tehran City Council then agreed to rename the Khaled Islambouli street to Intifada (uprising) of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

... Payvand News - 11/20/05 ... --

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